Colors - Commonly Asked Questions about Colors

What are the colours in a rainbow?

There are seven colours in a rainbow and they always come in the same order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Light from the Sun may look white, but it is actually a combination of many colours. When tiny drops of water in the air split white sunlight into its different colours, we see a rainbow.

Why does the sky changes colour?

Gases and dust in the atmosphere make the different colours in sunlight scatter so the sky changes colour. By day, the atmosphere scatters blue light towards Earth so the sky looks blue. At sunset, when sunlight has more atmosphere to travel through before it reaches the surface of the Earth, red light is scattered so the sky looks orangey red.

Which colours do we print with?

People print colour images and words on paper using just four coloured inks: yellow, cyan(blue), magenta (red) and black. Paper is printed with tiny dots of different amounts of each ink. Our brain cannot distinguish the dots we see separately, but instead, blends them together to make different blocks of different colors.

Did you know? Chameleons changes colour as their mood varies because blobs of pigment (colouring) under their skin get bigger or smaller.

How do animals use colours?

Some animals have similar coloured skin or fur to their habitats so they cannot be seen easily. This is called camouflage. Polar bears are white so they can sneak up on seals to catch them, but caterpillars are green to hide on leaves. Other animals use colours so they can easily be seen and avoided. For example, arrow frogs are brightly coloured to warn that they are poisonous.